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Scheffer, Paul

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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | 04/04/2012

Paul Scheffer fears globalisation-inspired populism

Western Europeans are strongly rooted in their local environment, publicist Paul Scheffer writes in the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad, arguing that the local environment is growing ever more important in the face of globalisation: "Of course it's highly laudable when people's identification with their environment grows. ... Globalisation even leads to a greater appreciation of one's local environment. The established centrist parties are being torn asunder by these opposing movements. ... Populism is an understandable reaction to globalisation: in the French presidential elections roughly 30 percent of voters are expected to cast their ballots either to the right wing or the left wing variant of 'our people first'. Here in the Netherlands things are no different. Optimists believe that at one point or another we will find our way to a new equilibrium in an open society. However that's anything but certain. It could well be that globalisation not only affects our sovereignty, but also our belief in democracy."

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | 25/01/2012

Paul Scheffer condemns orthodox intolerance

Amsterdam's Orthodox Jewish community has suspended chief rabbi Aryeh Ralbag after he described homosexuality as a disease. Sociologist Paul Scheffer calls in the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad for church and politics to adopt a clearer stance regarding such statements: "A tolerant stance cannot be one-sided. The right to religious freedom entails the responsibility to guarantee the same freedom for believers and non-believers alike. ... This reciprocity also applies to non-believers, who tend to banish religion to the private sphere. However religion is more than a private affair and belongs in the public sphere. ... Criticism of religion and religious freedom belong together. And it is particularly in safeguarding this openness that most political movements fail miserably. ... Orthodox piety calls for opposition, first from the liberals within the churches, synagogues and mosques. To live and let live requires commitment from politics, too. There is a lack of this at present, and this is why the open society is so unsure in its dealings with religion."

De Standaard - Belgium | 27/03/2010

Paul Scheffer on the challenges facing the major parties

In the Dutch election campaign the leading candidate for the social democratic party, Job Cohen, is being acclaimed as a bridge-builder. But reconciliation isn't enough in the Netherlands, which has been torn asunder by populism, writes Dutch journalist Paul Scheffer in the daily De Standaard: "Left is no longer Left and Right is no longer Right and therefore the centre has lost its orientation. The traditional parties and their social concepts are slowly but surely falling apart. ... There's no going back to the old system, despite all the right-wing and left-wing rhetoric. We stumble forwards uncertainly. Yet we need to realise that the majority of the population does not consist of unfettered cosmopolitans but people who are tied to one place. This is the great dilemma of these times, because it's not good when society splits up into the cosmopolitans and the petty bourgeois and at the same time the gap between the well educated and the poorly educated also widens. If social liberalism neglects this task of integration the social instability will worsen."

Le Soir - Belgium | 25/10/2007

The feeling of loss behind the Amsterdam riots

The Slotervaart neighbourhood in the west of Amsterdam has been the theatre of several violent outbursts since the death on Sunday, October 14th, of youth of Moroccan origins killed by two policemen. Didier Burg has questioned the Dutch sociologist Paul Scheffer on the subject. The sociologist rejects any comparison with the riots in Parisian suburbs during November 2005. "The events are not on the same scale. The alienation of youths is however the same in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. There are analogies that should lead to a European analysis. ... There remains today a feeling of alienation and loss. On the part of immigrants who are under the impression that they are loosing out here and on the part of the Dutch with Dutch roots who are seeing their neighbourhood life change drastically. The danger is that this feeling of loss will might create turning inwards of each and everyone.”

Le Soir - Belgium | 21/11/2006

Anticipated legislative elections in the Netherlands

In an interview with Pascal Martin, the Dutch sociologist Paul Scheffer considers that the Netherlands have been able to overcome problems of integration and immigration. "These themes do not occupy the scene as they did four years ago, for the big parties have integrated them. There now exists a consensus on a more restrained immigration policy and, at the same time more commitment in the domain of integration. ... People now understand that the freedom of the 1960s, based on the idea of individual autonomy, allowed considerable democratic progress, but has also led to a cruder, more aggressive society. Many now believe that this cultural change has reached certain limits. Facing ever-increasing violence, [The Prime Minister Jan Peter] Balkenende has managed to engage in a debate that has a symbolic and moral impact".

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